Tuesday, terrorists launched two attacks in Brussels, causing the world to pause once again and reflect on growing tension across the globe.
More than 30 people were killed and dozens more injured, according to the BBC. This recent strike has brought the issue of terrorism to the forefront of the presidential campaign and candidates are dishing out their anti-terror plans.
Ted Cruz, who has made countless promises to “carpet-bomb” ISIS, responded to the attacks in Brussels by demanding the U.S. secure its southern border.
“We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” he said.
When faced with the threat of terrorism, Cruz resorts to fear tactics by condemning an entire religion and encouraging the isolation of our neighbors.
Yet, hours after the tragic attacks, citizens and tourists alike gathered in a plaza outside the Bourse — the Belgian stock exchange — and began to pay tribute to the victims in the best way they knew how: spreading love and hope to the masses with messages of courage and national resilience.
“Terror has no religion,” said one message. “Hate is a tool of power” and “Love is our resistance” filled the square as people brought flowers and candles to pay their respects.
Obviously, the reality that terrorists could be living among us and plotting to do harm is not something to take lightly. But breeding hate will only further divide an already tense nation.
Bernie Sanders finally declared the U.S. should “put together (a) coalition in the region to destroy ISIS.” This of course, is exactly what President Barack Obama has been attempting to do for three years.
Hillary Clinton also promised to continue Obama’s policy but she reiterated she would make even greater efforts to stand “in solidarity with our European allies” by tightening the visa system and admonishing Donald Trump’s insistence that torture is the best solution to getting answers.
One thing remains clear. The realities of the Iraq war are looming at the front of candidates’ minds. Despite universal displeasure with the state of international affairs, not one of the contenders is willing to send forces to the ground.
It is crucial for the government to not ignore the very morals the U.S. was founded on. Unfortunately, when fear radiates through the nation, the government resorting to violating citizens’ rights has become the norm.
Addressing the lawsuit regarding the New York Police Department being accused of spying on Muslims in New Jersey, U.S. Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro said, “what occurs here in one guise is not new.
“We have been down similar roads before. Jewish-Americans during the Red Scare, African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement, and Japanese-Americans during World War II are examples that readily spring to mind,” he said.
“We are left to wonder why we cannot see with foresight what we see so clearly with hindsight — that loyalty is a matter of the heart and mind, not race, creed, or color.“
No one is feeling the worst of the terrorism more than Brussels. Yet they are seeking a rational and effective method of tackling violence rather than ostracizing an entire group.
As the elections continue to progress, it is important candidates and citizens alike remember what it truly means to be an American. Americans do not prevent their brothers from living a life full of liberties they have fought for generations to protect.
Americans do not cave to fear and lash out with hate. We must embrace the strength of those in Brussels. By refusing to give in to fear we refuse to let the enemy win.
As U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said, “America is a nation of nations, made up of people from every land, of every race and practicing every faith. Our diversity is not a source of weakness; it is a source of strength, it is a source of our success.”
No matter what happens in the future, it is imperative that we learn from our past mistakes. We need to unite as a nation, not divide ourselves based on prejudices and hate.
Breanne Williams is a junior majoring in mass communications.